Jean-Luc Godard: Our Revolutionary
Jean-Luc Godard, the name that originally came first as a modern revolutionary filmmaker in Western Europe. In this era of bourgeois degradation, France has created Godard as she created surrealism and Dadaism. Godard believes in Marxism and in the right sense he believes in Maoism. Godard was born in Paris, France on December 3, 1930. He grew up in the streets and corners of Paris. On that time Satra and his Existentialism was ruling Paris and its restaurants.
Jean-Luc Godard said “I grew up in a bourgeois family and one day I ran away. I came to the world of filmmaking instead of going to the path of marijuana and LSD. Then I discovered that the world of cinema is more bourgeois family than ever before”
Related to Jean-Luc Godard: A Video Essay on Godard’s Alphaville
Until 1966, his movies like Pierrot le Fou(1965) and La Petit Soldat (1963) recieved mixed feelings and criticism from the intellectuals. In his films, he gave a political analysis of the Capitalist situation of France. He showed how the government was welcoming more capitalism in France in the name of opposition.
In the film Weekend (1965) his political outlook took a new turn. He was gradually turning towards the extreme leftism. The movie Le Gai Svoir(1969) was banned in French TV, although it was made only for television. There are more films that were banned in this way , British Sounds(1969), Pravda (1970), Lotte in Italia (1971), Vladimir et Rosa (1971) etc.
Jean-Luc Godard is very much against the individualism. His movies are very cynical. There is no village to say there is. There’s only city. And that city is just Paris. Paris, its restaurants, its hazy light lanes, walking prostitutes, hotel rooms, Sin River, its abundance and diversity and the one individual who is swing between the two, this is the favorite subject of his movie.
His characters seem to have no home. They are like Bedouins and Paris is their desert. Where they are trying to find their oasis. Love comes and rescues them from their self-destructing state. He has repeatedly broadcasted a sin of the bourgeois society in his big screen and that is prostitution.
In movies like Vivre Sa Vie (1962) we see that this problem is not only the problem of prostitutes in Paris Street but of the entire capitalist society. The intellectuals, writers, literary, political leaders of this society prostitute for the American Coca-Cola civilization in exchange of cash. Jean-Luc Godard is cruel against them. He wants to break all the bourgeoisie’s crises, want to break their society, their art, their content, their form. That’s why cinema is not only art to him but also a weapon.
Related Read: Pierrot Le Fou (1965): An Internal Conflict
His cinema reality is different than others. There’s a proverb that camera never lies. The exploiters take that opportunity and want to show the reality of their own, and Godard wants to break the reality. Let’s think of that scene from British Sounds, a fist is coming out of a union jack hole. A voice is heard, “The bourgeoisie has created a world in their own image. Come on comrade, let’s destroy that image.”
Jean-Luc Godard believes that cinema is a capitalist art form. He wants to change this form. He said that its time to stop making movies about politics and start making political movies politically” We can see this form in British sounds. Godard is an internationalist. He made the film Ici Et Ailleurs (1976) about Palestine. In La Petit Soldat (1963) and The Carabineers (1963) we can heard the tortured voices of Algerian, Vietnamese and Latin American people.
Godard is a controversial director. He received both strong interest and strong hatred. Controversy will go on but we cannot but love him because his biggest identity is that he is a true artist and his films are the biggest aesthetics of our decades.